Congratulations! You’ve completed your rehab program, which surely is a magnificent accomplishment that you should definitely be proud of. However, you need to be aware of a potential relapse because finishing your treatment program is only the start of a long road of recovery and living a clean and sober life. You probably received some advice during your treatment program on how to stay clean and even started to develop a relapse prevention plan as an exercise. It’s good that you did because it’s going to be a little tough at times to remain sober.
There isn’t one simple thing you can do to remain clean and avoid a relapse. Yet you can do a few things to reduce your chances of a relapse occurring.
Let’s take a quick look:
1. Develop and finalize your relapse-prevention plan
Within your plan, make sure you’ve determined the possible enticements that you feel could make you begin to start to think about using. Next, identify your past patterns of behavior before you would use and the warning signs of those behaviors you could exhibit now that may signal a possible relapse. Finally, after you have identified those behavior patterns and warning signs, notify all those around you to notice if you begin to show them.
2. Refrain from old temptations
The next key to reducing your chances of a relapse is to stay away from any situation (or person) that you feel may tempt you to use again. This may include not going to old places where you frequently used, not hanging with people you know still use or any other situation that may bring about temptation for you to use. Definitely be sure to stay away from things and people that may ignite your emotions.
3. Establish an infrastructure of support
As mentioned before, it wouldn’t be too wise to return to hanging out with friends and family you know who still use. It’s important for you to be among people who consistently live a clean and sober lifestyle and who support your recovery. Make sure the people you hang out with truly care about you and your well-being, and will support you when you need them. Creating a supportive infrastructure of good people for yourself will take some tough (but undoubtedly necessary) acts of separation and detachment from detrimental relationships from your past. You’re on to bigger and better things now, don’t be afraid to leave those holding you back behind.
4. Organize an itinerary
Having a schedule of sorts will help create more positive structure in your life, which you likely got a taste of during your rehab treatment. Additionally, your schedule/itinerary will give you things to do during your day, week and month. Therefore, you won’t be as bored and will have less downtime due to having consistent organization and structure in your life. This will help reduce your chances of a relapse.
5. Do not—Repeat—Do NOT get lazy!
It’s important that you stay motivated to remain clean and sober. A lot of those who relapse get lazy and satisfied after a while of being out of their inpatient treatment program because they lose their initial motivation. If going to outpatient treatment, participating in an aftercare program or attending meetings helps keep you clean, don’t get lazy after a while and stop going. If you’ve worked hard to establish a good support network, don’t lose touch or alienate them because you think you’re “ok” now. Losing your focus, motivation and getting lazy will increase your chances of a relapse.